Fun Yabby Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Jan 29, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Yabby facts for kids about the native Australian yabby crayfish.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.4 Min

The world around us is fascinating. Although a lot of it is unexplored and sometimes plainly unacknowledged by people, the planet gives us many things to wonder about. One wonder of nature is the sheer variety in life forms. We have so many different kinds of creatures around us, and they are all uniquely wonderful.

Here in this article, we are looking at the yabby (Cherax destructor). Common yabbies are found majorly in Australian waters but have also been known to be found in other continents as well.

Yabbies are often deemed as a nuisance due to their sometimes invasive behavior of breaking the walls of farm dams. Perhaps that explains the destructor part of their scientific name.

For some, yabbies symbolize a fun summer prey or a nice meal but let us explore more yabby animal facts. After reading these interesting facts about this native Australian crayfish, do read our other articles on the peacock mantis shrimp and slipper lobster.

Yabby Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a yabby?

The common yabby (Cherax destructor) is a crustacean which entails that it has a shell covering its body. Common yabbies have gills which means they need to remain inside water or have just enough humidity in the atmosphere to keep their gills working in order to survive.

What class of animal does a yabby belong to?

The Cherax destructor belongs to the class of Malacostraca. Among the crustaceans, C.destructor is the largest class and contains around 40,000 species of animals. Malacostraca translates to soft-shelled in Greek, and this makes yabbies soft-shelled freshwater crustaceans.

How many yabbies are there in the world?

The total population of Cherax destructor is not specified. However, the common yabby population trend is exceedingly bizarre. The common yabby can live undetected and burrow for years before suddenly completely filling up a region when the water comes back. But, this crayfish species can disappear without a trace just as suddenly.

The government of Australia has issued a limit of not more than 200 yabbies per person in a day when fishing, but somehow, there seems to be more to their unpredictable population than being hunted as food by humans and other predators.

Where does a yabby live?

The common yabby is usually found in the tropical climate of the Great Dividing Range, but with time, they adapted to various temperatures. Now yabbies are found in regions with temperate to extreme climates. This crayfish species has also adapted to survive in snow-capped regions.

What is a yabby's habitat?

Yabbies live in watery spaces. This crayfish species can be found in dams in farms, creeks, ponds, swamps, and lakes. They seem to prefer still water, and an area does not necessarily need to have water; yabbies are hardy and can survive as long as their gills are moist.

Who do yabbies live with?

Yabbies do not extensively live in groups, but they tend to be very territorial and would rarely tolerate any other creature infiltrating into their living grounds.

How long does a yabby live?

Yabbies commonly live up to four or five years but can also live as long as seven years. The common yabby life span largely depends on their habitat and how successful these crayfish species have been at dodging particular predators, including humans.

How do they reproduce?

The common yabby usually reaches complete maturity by the size of 2-4 in (5.1-10.2 cm). Yabbies reproduce sexually, and the female yabbies lay eggs from spring to midsummer when the water temperatures are slightly higher. The average range of eggs laid is between 100- 1000.

A larger female lays a greater amount of eggs. The eggs are incubated for around 20-40 days, are olive green in color, and are tiny. The babies are carried by the females until they are mature enough to fend for themselves.

What is their conservation status?

The common yabby or C.destructor is classified as a Vulnerable species. These crayfish species are enjoyed as food and fishing for yabbies (also known as yabbying) is a popular summertime activity for kids in Australia. They also have natural predators, which might also contribute to their fall in population.

Yabby Fun Facts

What do yabbies look like?

A yabby or a C.destructor is an invertebrate. It is an arthropod with a soft body and lacks a spine or vertebral column. Yabbies instead have an outer shell protecting them for long periods, which they regularly molt to prepare for the growth of a new one.

Their shell makes them a part of the crustaceans, but the shells are relatively smooth in texture. This fish has five appendages on each side and the frontal ones are claws.

The C.destructor has a very wide range of colors when it comes to their bodies. This fish can be black or a dark common, murky shade of blue-black or cyan or purplish or red or green or brownish and even beige found in lakes or freshwater. The blue and cyan ones are particularly popular among people.


How cute are they?

A yabby is a form of or the relative of the crawfish (or crayfish) found in swamps, streams, rivers, or seen in the aquarium trade. The appeal their appearances have varies from person to person.

If you find shrimps, crabs, and lobsters cute then you might find yabbies to be cute as well. Yabbies are often kept as pets in aquariums for long periods, but the general population finds them cute just enough to be eaten.

How do they communicate?

Yabbies have gills and can communicate with other yabbies using them. Some form of bubble communication is observed between them.

How big is a yabby?

Yabbies look like a smaller version of lobsters. An average adult lobster is around 9 in (22.9 cm) in size, while the average adult yabby is about 3.5-4 in (8.9-10.2 cm) of size.

They can reach up to 8 in (20.3 cm) and very occasionally 10 in (25.4 cm), but that is rare. So, yabbies are generally half the size of lobsters.

How fast can yabbies move?

As yabbies have a shell, they can’t really swim in waters that fast and are known to swim at a moderate pace in slight waters.

How much does a yabby weigh?

Average yabbies caught usually weigh 0.7-2.8 oz (0.02-0.07 kg), but the male of the introduced crayfish species or invasive species is known to be able to reach up to 10.6 oz (0.3 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Yabbies do not have any particular introduced names designated to the males and females of the crayfish species or invasive species in order to differentiate between them. They are simply referred to as male yabbies and female yabbies. However, they can be differentiated based on the positioning of the bump on their backs.

What would you call a baby yabby?

A newly hatched yabby baby is called a juvenile. A baby yabby loves to live in aquaculture.

What do they eat?

Yabbies feed on algae, hunt small fishes that surround them, feast on animal and plant remains, and hunt for worms in their aquaculture. A yabby can be seen sustaining itself through consuming the remains of dead animals and aquatic plants most of the time.

Those who keep them as pets are advised to not feed them too much meat, if at all. They can be given small pellets of chicken, fish food, and sometimes garden worms.

Are they harmful?

Yabbies have been given their claws (or pincers) for a reason. The reason is self-defense. There is no reason why a yabby will have any intention to hurt anyone unless they were being provoked or were scared (like most living creatures). Hence, people are advised not to hold yabbies or threaten them because their pinch will hurt.

Would they make a good pet?

Yabbies are often kept as aquarium pets. They can be adored as pets but need to be given enough space because they are known to fight off other creatures in a tank if not provided good personal space.  

Did you know...

Yabbies are particularly vulnerable during molting. When shedding their outer shell to grow a new one, yabbies are open to attack from other crayfishes or bigger fishes that prey upon them.

The color of a yabby’s shell depends heavily upon the temperature, constituency, and clarity of the water it lives in. A muddy surrounding actually gives colors like green, blue and beige, while clear water yabbies are usually blue-black or black-brown.

Yabbies can survive in drought regions for years. Aestivation is the process where they burrow deep into somewhere with just enough moisture and go into a state of suspension of all bodily processes. Their breathing, circulation, and digestion almost stop. They remain like this till favorable conditions arrive again.

Yabbies are known as Marrons in Western Australia and as Redclaws in Queensland.

Yabbies are often known to eat their formerly discarded shells to boost their oxygen reservoir.

Yabbies are also known to attack and eat a vulnerable fellow yabby in the process of molting. This behavior is known as cannibalism.

A better term to classify their eating habits is the word detrivore because yabbies scavenge and eat anything for survival.

Yabbies can travel up to almost 37 mi (60 km) across marshy or wetland in search of new watery habitats.

How have yabbies adapted to their habitat?

Yabbies used to be much more temperature-sensitive than they are in the present. Formerly they were found only in lower altitudes, but with European settlements in Australia, they also accessed various regions.

It is speculated that their population in colder regions of Australia is unusual and would probably change with time. However, it is commendable how this little crustacean which used to live only in muddy habitats, is now the most common species of crayfish found in Australia.

The yabby's breeding process

Yabbies can be bred by inducing artificial temperature changes in the environment they are being bred in. Yabbies tend to start breeding after sensing the rise in water temperature in their natural environment.

To prolong the breeding period, the breeder would have to maintain the temperature above 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit (18°C) and not exceed 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (22°C) for the pair or pairs of yabbies to mate.

It can take weeks, depending upon the temperature of the surroundings, for the eggs to hatch. The females can breed as soon as the first batch of juveniles has left. It is estimated that yabbies can be bred up to five times a year, given the right conditions.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our irukandji jellyfish facts and mimic octopus fun facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable spiny lobster coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

Read full bio >